Tuberville Op-Ed in 1819 News: President Biden’s Policies are Tying the Hands that Feed Us

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) authored the following op-ed in 1819 News to discuss how inflation is impacting farmers and cutting into their bottom lines.

President Biden’s Policies are Tying the Hands that Feed Us

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville

1819 News

April 7, 2022


Our farmers and agricultural workers have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to feed, fuel, and clothe Americans – they didn’t get to “work from home” when other sectors of the economy shut down. And now, over two years after the start of the pandemic, conditions still haven’t gotten much easier for our farmers and producers.  

President Biden’s reckless spending policies are tying the hands that feed us. We are seeing the highest inflation rates in over 40 years because out-of-control spending and misplaced priorities are causing operational costs to shoot up while profits stagnate.  Prices for key inputs such as fertilizer, fuel, and machinery have doubled or tripled over the past year with no signs of coming back down. 

Dollars do not stretch nearly as far anymore at the gas pump which leaves farmers taking on additional costs for their basic needs of filling up their trucks, tractors, and combines. President Biden’s decision to cripple American energy independence and rely more on foreign oil imports has left Alabamians paying the highest gas prices they’ve ever paid. More than two-thirds of all farming equipment is powered by diesel fuel. So when the price of diesel fuel is $2.11 per gallon more than it was one year ago, that directly impacts our farmers’ bottom lines. 

Farmers shouldn’t have to choose between fuel and fertilizer. They need both to keep their business afloat and keep our shelves stocked. Higher commodity prices are not translating to higher net incomes for farmers due to skyrocketing input costs. Our farmers are struggling to break even while consumers are also paying more at the register. Prices for common items on our grocery list have shot up. Folks are paying almost 28% more for bacon and nearly 30% more for a dozen eggs than they were a year ago.

Not only is inflation eroding profit margins,  it is also diminishing chances of long-term sustainability for our small and family farms by discouraging would-be farmers from entering the industry which will cut into the already declining number of farmers and family farms.  Small, rural farms are the heart of our local communities —if you’ve bought a new shirt, wrote on a piece of paper, or purchased fresh produce from your local store or produce stand to take home to your family—you can thank a farmer. Their declining numbers could be devastating to our local economies and our way of life.

Although times are tough, Alabama farmers are resilient and continue to lead the way for agricultural success. In our state, one in every 4.6 jobs are tied to agriculture or food production which creates a $5.5 billion-dollar state impact annually. We lead the way in a diverse range of areas, ranking 1st in the nation in loblolly pine grown, 2nd in the nation for peanuts, catfish, and broiler chicken production, 5th in cotton lint production and 7th in cotton seed production, just to name a few. Alabama’s farmers work on nearly nine million farm acres and 43,000 farms to yield a wide range of exports that support our local and national food security.

As a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, I continue to look for commonsense ways to get the government out of the way and put farmers at the forefront of conversations regarding all aspects of the agriculture industry. When members of the Biden administration have testified before the committee, I have taken every opportunity to press senior officials on the administration’s plan to actively support rural communities and family farms. Also, I have pressed the Chairman of the Agriculture Committee to call the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, as a witness to testify in a hearing. He has not come before the Committee since his confirmation hearing last year, and there is much to discuss with him on behalf of Alabama farmers and producers.

I call on President Bidento put forth policies that aim to drive down inflation and regain our energy independence. We need to open up more energy production here at home to reduce critical input costs for our farmers. Committing to more domestic production of critical minerals needed for items like fertilizer will ensure that global supply shortages do not disrupt American food security.

It is vital that we create a thriving environment to maintain that our food and supply chains will be secure for generations to come. Alabama farmers never take a day off, and we must keep our laws and regulations in check to ensure they can continue to do what they do best – farm the land. 

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.